Native American Heritage Day

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News Writer

The House Bill 1014 passed Wednesday Feb 20th with a vote of 93-4. The bill was sponsored by Tulalip Tribal member and Representative John McCoy along with 26 other representatives. The bill names the state legal holiday on the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving as “Native American Heritage Day.”

The state currently observes 10 legal holidays, most of which are designated for some commemorative distinction and includes the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day, but has no corresponding name or distinction.

“This is a respectful way to acknowledge Native American heritage. The recognition is consistent with the recognition of long-term contributions of tribes, including tribes located outside of Washington with treaty rights and aboriginal land inside the state. It addresses the stigma associated with Thanksgiving Day,” was stated within the bill.

There are 29 federally recognized tribes in the state and many other tribal communities that are not federally recognized as well as individuals who claim Native American ancestry who may or may not be enrolled members of a tribe.

Native American Heritage Day has been recognized as a state holiday in Maryland since 2008. States California, Tennessee and South Dakota also have an American Indian Day or a Native American Day

In 2008 President George W. Bush signed a joint resolution by Congress designating Friday, November 28, 2008, as Native American Heritage Day, and encouraged federal, state, and local governments to observe the date as tribute to the contributions Native Americans have made to the United States. In 2010 President Barack Obama proclaimed November 2010 as Native American Heritage Month, and called upon all Americans to celebrate November 26, 2010, the day after Thanksgiving, as Native American Heritage Day.

Read more of the back story here.